If you picked up a copy of this morning’s New York Times, you may have noticed these words, printed in bold type, at the bottom of the front page.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU RECOMMEND
I want to share why.
We started Outbrain 8 years ago with the mission, which we call our Lighthouse, of providing people with great recommendations for what to read or watch next, recommendations which they can trust will be interesting. We set that mission out of great respect and admiration for the best story-tellers, and out of frustration with most of online advertising.
When we do well by our Lighthouse, we provide people with the magical experience of serendipity and delight, similar to the one they get when flipping through the pages of a favorite magazine or newspaper, like the New York Times.
Today we have the honor of recommending more than 6 billion stories to people each and every day. That’s the largest publisher content recommendation platform in the world. We work with world’s best publishers to provide their audiences with personalized recommendations for what we hope will be the next best story for each of them.
As a result, publishers enjoy some wonderful byproducts of their audience’s natural curiosity: more engagement on their site, and, when a sponsored story appeals to the right person, revenue that helps them fund their business. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of entering exclusive partnerships with Guardian News & Media, Le Figaro Group, and BILD.de, three hugely influential publishers in three different countries. We’re thrilled they chose Outbrain as their trusted partner for content recommendations.
For brands, Outbrain is the pioneer of Content Marketing. As brands are finding out, providing great content that makes people laugh, helps them solve a problem, inspires them, or just makes them feel more informed is as essential to building trust and affinity as a good product or good customer service. Ads are for consumers, and when consumers feel “advertised to,” they tend to ignore ads, or increasingly block them. Content is for people.
People know the difference between ads and content. Content is what they come for; ads are the interruption. Sadly, there are quite a few companies now trying to blur the lines between the two, and camouflage ads made to look like content recommendations. At Outbrain we strongly believe that reliable, trustworthy content recommendations are an incredibly valuable long term currency for everyone involved. That has been our Lighthouse since we pioneered this space 8 years ago, and will continue being our Lighthouse for many years to come.
“You Are What You Recommend” is first and foremost a reminder to ourselves of this principle. When serving 6 billion recommendations every single day, we know there are plenty of times we can do much, much better. We know that not every single recommendation Outbrain serves is perfect, but we’re extremely proud to be standing for the principle of “You Are What You Recommend,” and we strive to be proud of each individual recommendation. More importantly, think of it as an invitation to join us in building a sustainable future on the back of content people want to enjoy, not ads people want to block.
Co-Founder & CEO, Outbrain Inc.